Chapter 3 | Basic Ventilator Modes and Settings


In Chapter 2, you gained an introduction to mechanical ventilation as a sealed system and some of the basics of delivering oxygen to a patient—whether breathing spontaneously or on a ventilator. Now it is time to dive into mechanical ventilation and begin to discuss the different modes a ventilator can deliver to help a patient breathe.

In this chapter we will cover:

  • Basic ventilation mode categories
  • Basic ventilation settings and what they mean


It is essential that any health care practitioner who is working with ventilators understand the two main modes of ventilation and be familiar with all of the main ventilator settings in order to learn more about achieving goals for patient care.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Differentiate control and spontaneous ventilation modes
  2. Identify settings on a ventilator and which modes they apply to

Key Terms

In this chapter, you will learn about all of the following key terms. These terms will be used throughout this book, so it is important to take the time to master them and practice your recall often.

  • control mode
  • spontaneous mode
  • asynchrony
  • trigger
  • volume control
  • Respiratory Rate (RR)
  • Tidal Volume (VT)
  • Pressure Control (PC) or Inspiratory Pressure (Pinsp)
  • Pressure Support (PS)
  • Inspiratory Time (IT)
  • Flow (V̇)
  • Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP)
  • Fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2)

Whenever these terms are first introduced in this chapter, they are bolded. However, if you need additional information about a term than what is provided here, you can research it in The Free Dictionary: Medical Dictionary.


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